THE Year of the Rooster brings with it an extra touch of significance for Wendy Yap and her family .
So don’t bat an eyelid when we tell you that Yap keeps more than 100 chickens at home!
They are kept in a chicken coop next to her bungalow in Taman Tasik Semenyih near Broga Hill.
Secondly, Yap’s youngest daughter, Evelyne Ng, 24, was born in the rooster year and she absolutely adores her feathered friends.
Evelyne’s best friends, Leticia Lau and Poh Mun Foong, also born in the rooster year, adore chickens too and will not miss an opportunity to play with the birds each time they get a chance.
Their most favoured fowl is Devid and James, the roosters who are in charge of the coop.
“I simply love coming here with my friends and am lucky that Leticia and Mun Foong enjoy it too.
“The best time of course is the feeding session,” she said, adding that it was adorable to watch them follow her when she feeds them.
“The chickens clucking while forming a long queue behind me is quite a sight,” Leticia added.
“It’s refreshing and while we enjoy playing badminton, swimming, shopping and singing karaoke, nothing beats enjoying the clean crisp air of the countryside while listening to the squawking chickens,” chipped in Mun Foong.
Devid and James, the handsome duo, are not just the beau of the hens, but the apple of Yap’s eyes.
Every morning, Yap routinely feeds the chickens and sometimes, her daughters Emily and Elissa will join her.
To Yap, the chickens offer more than just cuddles and eggs. They offer respite from the hustle and bustle of the city; an idyllic getaway from stress.
“Believe it or not, my chicken coop is a big stress reliever. This is where I rejuvenate my batteries,” Yap said.
“For the kind of job I do, I need a pick-me-up every day, a respite from the stress I encounter in my day-to-day work,” said the 57-year-old social worker.
Yap, who is the founder and caretaker of Rumah Caring in Kajang, explained that prior to her setting up her chicken coop, she was constantly stressed out as she had to deal with people who were suffering from depression, drug addicts, single mothers, orphans and senior citizens who were abandoned by their families.
“It really pulls me down and takes a lot out of a person,” said the mother of four.
“I wasn’t getting enough sleep and the right exercise. I did not have time for myself any more and it was taking a toll on my health too,” added Yap.
It was then that Yap decided to do something to help her de-stress and the idea of setting up a chicken coop was the first thing that came to mind.
“People ask me all the time: ‘Why chickens?’ Well, it was a practical idea. You can’t have too many dogs and cats – we don’t want to have problems with the neighbour.
“But with chickens, you can have as many as you want and they’ll mind their own business,” she explained.
“Plus, the chickens wake you up in the morning. It’s the best alarm clock in the world,” added Yap. She also said chicken manure was the best especially if you have a vegetable garden.
Yap spent about RM5,000 to set up the chicken coop. She rented an empty land belonging to Tenaga Nasional Bhd next to her bungalow two years ago.
“I started with only four chickens and we also planted vegetables and fruit trees on the land. Soon, I discovered that my plants were thriving nicely because of the chicken manure,’’ she said.
Yap is proud of the fact that apart from her 120-plus chickens, she has over 16 different fruits and vegetables in her garden. All of them organic, she stressed.
Something else that Yap noticed was the change in her 90-year-old father, Yap Thiam Hock.
“My disabled father was quiet and hardly spoke. Sometimes, he would withdraw and say nothing for weeks. But all that changed when he visited our chicken coop for the first time.
His entire demeanour and attitude transformed and he was laughing again.
It was a wonderful sight to see him so happy and reinvigorated,” Yap said.
He enjoys watching the chickens and he even knows if they laid eggs just by listening to their loud clucks.
“Time spent in the garden with the chickens clucking away, the sound of the wind howling and birds chirping are the little pleasures that must only be experienced,” Yap said.
Evelyn agrees, adding: “My family is happy and healthier and my friends just can’t wait to come back again and again,” she said.
This year, Yap decided to make Chinese New Year memorable by organising a family photo shoot in the garden complete with her husband Ng Poh Wai and son Mitchell Ng, and the entire Ng and Yap clan. Oh, and not forgetting Devid and James, the roosters, right in the centre.